Ever have those moments in life where you really step back and question things? As a brand, we stand for raising awareness for recovery from addiction and human trafficking. In my real life behind the brand, I’m daily sitting with people who are in all stages of recovery and learning to overcome all sorts of hell. As you sit with others and help guide them through their own recovery and spiritual journey, God has a way of reminding you about your own journey as well.
Even though I’ve been walking in the recovery world for a few years now and giving back in many ways, I still have these seasons where I step back and really question things. What kind of things really rattle you and bring you into those seasons?
We all have them… thoughts from the past that pop back in the forefront of our minds every now and then. You see a person walk past, you see a picture, you hear a song on the radio, someone says a phrase, you smell a familiar scent and instantly you’re back to that dark moment. If it’s not caught, you find your mind swirling all around and your emotions begin a roller coaster experience.
None of us go through challenge stuff right!? Ha! So you know how this one works too… there you are just trying to survive and do the next right dang thing and BAM! You get that phone call, that text message, that bank statement, that sickness, that tough conversation, that relationship change, that conflict and instantly you’re sent backwards internally and don’t know what to do.
Both of these things aim to take us backward and even out completely. Lies we believe and isolation are some of the greatest enemies to life and recovery. Think about those 2 attacks above (triggering thoughts and challenging circumstances)… you tell me how those things affect you. Experience tells me those areas are the start to some of the most hellish moments we’ve all been through. Something triggers us or something hard happens and before we know it, we’re all sideways in our head. We rush so quick to those shame messages. Before we know it, we’re telling ourselves that we suck, nobody cares, and if we’re honest sometimes even like God sucks. If we stay in that headspace, we lose our sense of purpose and our drive. What comes next is seldom anything good. We pull back and begin looking for validation in all the wrong ways and places and people. Compromise is right around the corner and really we’ve already relapsed in toxic behavior before any action is even made.
These things burn so deeply within us because we ALL can relate. So what do we do about it? How can we pull ourselves out of an internal tailspin or regain our faith after a failure?
When I previously flew airplanes (yes that’s part of what I thought I would be doing before God completely changed my direction), my training taught me how to recover from a stall and even worse how to avoid the fatal spin. Pilots have to train how to handle every possible situation, including a stall. Stalls happen when the aircraft flies too slow to keep the physical reaction of lift from taking place. Furthermore, if the plane is already flying off balance or out of whack too much as it enters the stall speed, the aircraft won’t just stall and begin to fall but may also spin as it falls out of control. Anyone who’s seen the movie Top Gun may remember that fatal F-14 spin. Now testing these stalls and learning to avoid spins terrified me, but we had to learn by experience. This aimed to prepare me for a proper response if an actual stall ever happened. I can tell you it’s not a very fun thing being in a potential stall situation, and it’s not very fun to prepare for them but it’s so important!
In the Bible, we get to peer into the story of Israel who repeatedly went through these relapse stall/spin cycles. Similarly, it’s so critical to see God’s repeated instruction to them that aimed to help prepare them when triggers and circumstances hit.
Now all those passages (and many more too) reminded God’s people Israel to NOT fear. Notice those reminders were all centered in their thinking and emotions. When they met triggers or circumstances that aimed to send their thinking sideways, they were reminded to NOT fear but look to God.
In that airplane stall practice I mentioned earlier, we were taught to NOT fear but to TRUST the process we were taught. We were taught to keep the aircraft all balanced, aligned, and flying straight no matter what. Then we were taught to look for signals of a potentially too slow speed where a stall could occur. Finally, we were taught the sequence of power and yoke control to handle a stall if one ever occurred. These scenarios, preventative, and recovery processes were all drilled into us so it became built in habit.
Life WILL be filled with triggers and circumstances aimed at taking you into a fatal spin and ultimately out. But God gives us the tools and training to meet these attacks head on and come out the other side still flying and thriving. It all centers on your focus. Now there are many other aspects to recovery, but for the sake of this post, focusing off the trigger or circumstance and instead on prevention through looking upward to God and trusting His process is so important.
Another time we’ll break down some steps about trusting God’s process and how that can look specifically. One last thing though… as this prevention and appropriate response becomes more habit, your why (your purpose) will become more clear. The reason is simple too. One last time back to our airplane example… when an aircraft is in stall mode, the pilot couldn’t really give a rip about the destination. Instead stall mode brings survival mode to the forefront of importance. Purpose gets lost in just trying to survive. But as a pilot learns to avoid stall mode and how to recover from one if unforeseen circumstances happen, then the intended destination (purpose of the flight) remains in focus.
So friends, keep learning about yourself and growing and surrendering. As you do, you’ll find your confidence, consistency, and calling!- Derek
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